Tourists banned as Capri battles water emergency

Published June 23, 2024
TOURISTS wait at a port to travel to the Italian island of Capri as the local administration works to secure water supplies, on Saturday.—Reuters
TOURISTS wait at a port to travel to the Italian island of Capri as the local administration works to secure water supplies, on Saturday.—Reuters

ROME: The Italian island of Capri banned tourists from disembarking on Saturday after problems with the water supply from the mainland threatened to leave the holiday hotspot parched.

The ban by Capri mayor Paolo Falco forced several ferries on their way to the island from Naples and Sorrento in southern Italy to turn back. The company charged with supplying the island with water said there had been a technical problem on the mainland on Thursday, and while that had since been fixed problems with the supply to Capri remained.

Falco warned of “a real emergency” and said that while there was still water on most of the island on Friday, local tanks were “running out”. “The emergency would be worsened by the arrival of the thousands of tourists which arrive on Capri daily”, he said.

Locals could collect up to 25 litres of drinking water per household from a supply tanker, he said. The ban, which does not apply to residents, will be in place until further notice.

Capri, in the Bay of Naples, is famed for its white villas, cove-studded coastline and upscale hotels. There are some 13,000 permanent residents but huge numbers of day-trippers in summer months.

“We’ve been working through the night to ... secure water shipments and tankers carrying water, which have been arriving. I apologise to everyone but there was nothing I could do ... my priority had to be to prevent a healthcare emergency,” he added.

In May and June, Capri was the most popular Italian destination among foreign tourists, who accounted for 84pc of total visitors to the country, according to a recent analysis from Lybra Tech, a company that provides tech solutions to hotels, and tax free shopping data firm Global Blue.—

Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2024

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